Opportunity NUCs for Asus to continue Intel's mini PC line

Though chip giant is only referring to deal as a 'proposed agreement' for now

Asus looks set to take on the NUC brand from Intel, saying it aims to form its own NUC business unit to manufacture, sell, and support the line of mini PCs.

Intel disappointed fans of its diminutive Next Unit of Computing (NUC) systems earlier this month when it announced it was effectively ceasing to fund that business division and redirecting resources elsewhere.

However, at the time that Intel was working with its ecosystem partners on ways to continue the NUC line, and it appears that Taiwanese PC maker Asus had been stepping up its game.

Intel says it has agreed to a "term sheet" with Asus for an agreement to manufacture, sell and support the 10th to 13th generations of NUC hardware, and also to develop future NUC system designs.

The wording suggests this isn't a done deal at this stage and the two companies have yet to actually sign on the dotted line. We asked both Intel and Asus for confirmation, and whether there is any financial transaction as part of this agreement, but have yet to receive an answer.

The announcement from Intel refers to it as a "proposed agreement" and goes on to state that under the terms, Asus will get a non-exclusive license to Intel's NUC system designs to allow it to manufacture and sell those 10th-13th Gen NUC products. Asus will also establish a new business unit called Asus NUC BU.

What this means is that if the agreement goes ahead, Asus will continue to provide both products and support for Intel NUC customers, while the non-exclusive license means that Intel could potentially sign a similar deal with other PC makers, should there be any additional interest from the industry.

"Our NUC systems product team delivered unique products that spurred innovation in the ultra-small form factor market," Intel VP of Client Platform Solutions Sam Gao said in a statement, adding: "I am looking forward to Asus continuing to deliver exceptional products and supporting our NUC systems customers."

Asus already manufactures its own mini PC line, which offers a similar small form factor to some of Intel's NUC designs, making the company a good candidate to continue the products.

Asus chief operating officer Joe Hsieh said in a statement that he was confident the collaboration will enhance his company's vision for the mini PC, adding: "We are committed to ensuring the excellent support and service that NUC system customers expect."

Just how long Asus will be willing to fund the development and manufacturing of two separate mini PC lines remains to be seen. ®

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